In this paper, deep level defects in high quality continuous GaN films grown over a cracked Si-doped GaN template has been studied using digital deep level transient spectroscopy (DLTS) and transmission electron microscopy (TEM). From TEM observation, it is found that the density of pure screw dislocations have been effectively suppressed while pure edge dislocations remained in substantial quantity. From DLTS measurement, trap levels at Ec -ET
∼ 0.11-0.12 eV, 0.24-0.27 eV, 0.60-0.63 eV were detected in the high quality GaN layer. DLTS measurement was also carried out on the underlying cracked Si-doped GaN template after the top high quality continuous GaN film was removed by plasma etching. An additional defect level at Ec-Et
∼ 0.37 eV was detected which we attributed to defect decoration at screw dislocation. Both the trap levels Ec-ET
∼ 0.24–0.27 eV, 0.60-0.63 eV are believed to originate from mixed screw/edge dislocation based on observation of the logarithmic capture behavior. Trap level at Ec -ET
∼ 0.24-0.27eV, however, experiences a more drastic increase in transient capacitance (i.e. in trap concentration) compared to that of Ec -ET
∼ 0.60-0.63 eV after plasma etching, illustrating that the latter is related to a higher proportion of edge dislocation. The 0.11-0.12 eV trap level, which exhibits an exponential capture kinetic, is believed to be related to nitrogen vacancies. This high quality continuous GaN layer can be used as a template to grow any device structure and the underneath cracked Si-doped GaN layer may help to release stress for the top continuous GaN layer. This can bring about a cracked free epilayer for subsequent device fabrication.